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ICFJ Knight roundup: African fund for innovative journalism now accepting pitches for investigative stories

ICFJ Knight roundup: African fund for innovative journalism now accepting pitches for investigative stories

Sara Olstad | September 02, 2016

As part of the Knight International Media Innovators blog, the ICFJ Knight team will round up stories focused on how their fellows are making an impact in the field. Find out more about the fellows' projects by clicking here.

impactAFRICA launches investigative reporting contest, webinar on low-cost mobile apps and more from the Knight Fellows in this week’s Roundup.

Submit investigative story pitches to impactAFRICA

Journalists in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia can now submit ideas for innovative or data-driven investigative stories to the impactAFRICA fund. Ten semi-finalists will be selected to attend a StoryCamp to refine their pitches and then will receive cash grants up to $20,000 as well as additional support from technologists and editorial experts. The deadline for pitches is November 11, 2016. Full details and guidelines are here. impactAFRICA is spearheaded by ICFJ Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein.

Looking for a low-cost mobile app for your news organization?

ICFJ Knight Fellow Chris Guess led a webinar on August 31 on how to use “Push,” a customizable iOS and Android mobile app that he developed for media outlets with limited time, money or resources. Guess has launched six custom versions of the Push app, including one for Medyan TV, the only independent news organization in Azerbaijan. Meydan TV Director Emin Milli says his station’s app has had several thousand downloads so far. “We’re planning right now a campaign to a larger audience to ask more of them to download the app because at some point we expect that our website can be blocked,” Milli said, referring to potential actions by the government. “Then the people who have the app will [still] have access to our content.”

Journalists warned of the challenges posed by social media

ICFJ Knight Fellow Catherine Gicheru warned recently that Kenyan news organizations must rethink their business in response to competition from social media. Appearing on the “Press Pass” program on NTV, Gicheru said the the media face challenges in earning and maintaining the public’s trust. “Right now journalists are faced with challenges that we have no control over because social media is taking over breaking the news so we need to rethink our business. Still, how do we go about informing people but not being seen to be redundant?” Gicheru said. She added that Kenyan journalists are also struggling to find new sources of revenue and learn new skills.

Despite these difficulties, the media industry is seen as the most trusted institution in Kenya. According to the most recent nationwide poll, conducted in November 2015, 87 percent of Kenyans trusted in the media and were satisfied with the watchdog and informative role played by journalists.

Media Party 2016 celebrates journalistic innovation

More than 2,300 journalists, designers, developers and entrepreneurs gathered at the fifth annual Media Party on August 25 to 27 in Buenos Aires, making it the largest event of its kind in Latin America. Keynotes and workshops focused on topics ranging from innovative storytelling tools to the Panama Papers investigation. The event is organized by Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires (HHBA), which was founded by former ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariano Blejman in 2011. Check out the Media Party Hackdash to see all of the projects from this year’s hackathon.

Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via Andrew Turner. 

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